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up- +‎ stream



upstream (not comparable)

  1. in a direction against the flow of a current or stream of fluid (typically water); upriver
  2. (oil industry) involving exploration and pre-production rather than refining and selling
  3. (computing) in the direction from the client to the server
  4. (open-source software) maintained, owned or associated with the original developers of the given software; in contrast to a modified version downstream
    • 2013, Matthew Helmke, Ubuntu Unleashed 2013 Edition: Covering 12.10 and 13.04, Pearson Education
      You can also check the upstream and/or Debian bug trackers for open and closed bugs and the upstream revision history or newer release(s).
    • 2012, Jono Bacon, The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation, O'Reilly Media, Inc., page 141
      If the developer knows the bug is an upstream bug but does not know which bug it is in the upstream bug tracker, he can add an upstream task to the bug report.
    • 2008, Michael Dennis Scott, Scott on Outsourcing: Law and Practice, Aspen Publishers, page 198:
      Because a user generally does not know the pedigree of the open source, it cannot know whether an upstream developer used intellectual property belonging to a third party in developing that software.
    • 2002, Tony Mancill, Linux Routers: A Primer for Network Administrators, Prentice Hall, page 190:
      We'll walk through the steps to build FreeS/WAN using the upstream tarball.
  5. (biology) towards the leading end (5′ end) of a DNA molecule

Derived terms[edit]




upstream (comparative more upstream, superlative most upstream)

  1. Against the current.
    • 1898, H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds, London: William Heinemann, page 102:
      In another moment a huge wave, like a muddy tidal bore, but almost scaldingly hot, came sweeping round the bend up-stream.




upstream (third-person singular simple present upstreams, present participle upstreaming, simple past and past participle upstreamed)

  1. (intransitive) To stream upward.
  2. (transitive, open-source software) To have (a software library, patch, etc.) accepted by the original developers of the related software, so that they maintain and distribute it.
    I'd be more than happy to upstream your patch.


upstream (plural upstreams)

  1. Part of the river towards the upstream direction.
  2. (open-source software) The original developers or maintainers of software.